Restraining Rover: Dog Bite Law in Missouri
Dog bite injuries are an all too common occurrence in Missouri. The most severely injured victims are usually children. Most dog owners would like to think that their dog would never hurt a child, but the harsh reality is that 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. 800,000 of these victims seek medical care, and half of these victims are children. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that children ages 5 to 9 are the group most often bitten by dogs. The CDC further reports that if the child victim is 4 years old or less, most of the injuries are to the child’s head and neck.
The most common injuries sustained from dog bites are
- Puncture wounds
- Cuts and scrapes
- Nerve damage
- Tissue Loss
- Hair loss
Prior to 2009, dog bite victims had to prove that the dog’s owner knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous. This was usually proven by showing a propensity or tendency of the dog to be aggressive or a history of the dog biting people.
Currently, Missouri has a strict liability statute concerning biting dogs and their owners. See Section 273.036 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. (LINK?) This means that now it is much easier for victims of dog bites to hold the owners of vicious dogs accountable for the damages and injuries that their dogs cause. This statute also applies to the custodian or possessor of the dog, not just the owner. Essentially, a victim need only prove that they were on public property or lawfully on private property when the attack occurred and that they did not provoke the dog before it bit.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog, contact Price & Randle, LLC for a free consultation.